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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

World AIDS day

AIDS survivor Loreen Willenberg initiates World AIDS Day on City College campus, to bring facts and figures on the epidemic and solutions. Photo by || Kate Paloy || [email protected]

In observance of the 23rd anniversary of World Aids Day, City College will host its own event in the quad Thursday Dec. 1, to raise awareness about the disease.

City College Nurse Jeff Christian and Loreen Willenberg, professional advocate and executive director of the Zephyr Foundation, will host the commemoration from noon-1 p.m.

“The goal is to teach students how to protect themselves by increasing their knowledge, because change really happens when students obtain the knowledge and then pass it on, which is powerful,” Christian said. “The more knowledge you have the better prepared you are.”

Willenberg said the mission of the event is to focus on the importance of  the effects HIV/AIDS, not only on people who have HIV/AIDS, but on family and friends of those affected as well.

The theme for this year’s observance is “Getting to Zero”: new HIV infections, discrimination, AIDS deaths.

The event’s activities include a testimonial from a representative of the CARES “Positively Speaking” group, representatives from local HIV/AIDS Services, and organizations, such as the Sacramento Ryan White Health Services Planning Council, Golden Rules Services, and Breaking Barriers Community Services Center. There will also be a moment of silence to commemorate individuals lost to and living with HIV/AIDS.

City College songwriter Yancey “Corey” Barker and guitarist/singer Malikah “MoMo” Jones will perform original music.
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“It’s definitely gonna be a good low-key grassroots event,” Christian said.

The goal is to concentrate more on educating students and providing resources, and less time giving away brochures and handouts, Willenberg said.

“I don’t want the event to mistaken for a health fair,” said Willenberg, who added there are still a lot of misconceptions about HIV and AIDS.

According too a 2010 survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 40 percent of Americans still believe HIV can be contracted by kissing or sharing drinks.

The median age group of Sacramento City College student body, young adults below 24 years of age, represents the population with the fastest growing rates of HIV-infections in the US.

In 2009 the rates of HIV infections among 18-24 year old Americans are similar to the rates of 18-24 years olds in 1992.  The most striking statistics show that African American youth ages 13-24 make up 60 percent of the HIV positive population in the US, said Willenberg.

“As a 51-year-old woman, I think support from our leaders is necessary in order for us to rethink the way we discuss sexual relations in our schools,” said Willenberg.

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